The day a woman learns she’s pregnant is typically one filled with joy over the anticipation of bringing a new life into the world. However, the journey will always include major biological bumps in the road.
One of them is morning sickness, which involves nausea, vomiting or both in the first 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
We don’t know the exact reason for morning sickness, but it has been linked to increased estrogen levels and other hormonal changes during pregnancy. Morning sickness often strikes during the first month of pregnancy after the first missed menstrual period, when hormone levels increase. Women carrying twins or more normally have greater hormone level increases and more severe cases of illness.
While morning sickness can be psychologically distressing for expectant mothers, it can also have negative effects such as pre-term birth, low birth-weight and even fetal loss. Fortunately, there are some useful at-home remedies that could minimize morning sickness:
- Keep food in your stomach, but not too much. An empty stomach can make nausea worse. It is best to eat several small meals a day instead of three larger ones.
- Before getting out of bed in the morning, eat a small snack such as saltines. Allow the food to digest and then get out of bed slowly.
- Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of fluids, including water, broth and juice. Refrain from liquids that could make the nausea worse such as coffee, tea, or milk.
- Eat more protein and reduce your intake of fatty foods.
- If you take iron supplements, ask your doctor if they are necessary. Often, iron can make nausea worse.
- Get a lot of rest, as fatigue and stress can make morning sickness worse.
If a pregnant woman vomits three or more times a day, is unable to drink fluids, and has pain, fever or both, she should immediately contact her doctor, who may prescribe one of the following options that will not cause fetal problems:
- Antihistamines such as doxylamine or dimenhydrinate may relieve morning sickness.
- Vitamin B6 and B12 taken regularly can also reduce nausea and vomiting
- Acupressure, in which pressure is applied to certain parts of the arm, has also proven to be a remedy for morning sickness.
- Ginger taken regularly in a capsule, grated fresh into hot water for a tea, or in syrup may also provide relief after a few days of treatment.
If you experienced morning sickness during pregnancy, how did you cope?